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BirdLife International urges EU leaders to ban single-hulled oil tankers and adopt measures to prevent more spills…

On the eve of the Copenhagen Summit, BirdLife International is calling on European Union (EU) Heads of State to immediately agree a ban on single-hulled oil tankers and adopt new measures to strengthen marine safety and liability regulations to prevent future oil spills such as the Prestige disaster.The Prestige oil spill shows it is imperative the European Union urgently adopt new measures banning single-hulled oil tankers operating in EU waters by 2005 at the latest, and strengthening marine safety and liability regulations to help prevent future oil spills such as the Prestige disaster, said Miguel Naveso, Head of BirdLife International European Community Office in Brussels. Like the Erika spill before it, the Prestige disaster shows yet again that oil and seabirds don`t mix. Approximately every three years the coastline of Europe is being devastated by a major oil spill. On this basis we will have to suffer another four major oil spills before single-hulled tankers are due to be phased-out in 2015.BirdLife Partners in all EU countries have written to Heads of State urging them to immediately agree a ban on single-hulled oil tankers by 2005 at the latest and adopt new measures to strengthen marine safety and liability regulations to prevent future oil spills. This includes increasing controls on high risk ships in EU ports and regulatory companies that inspect ships and determine seaworthiness and security standards, and to improve liability and damage compensation caused by pollution by re-launching a proposal for a Compensatory Fund for Oil Pollution (COPE) within EU waters. BirdLife also wants the EU to approve immediately the proposed new Environmental Liability Directive, which covers oil spills.The EU has adopted regulations and directives to strengthen European legislation on marine safety, which, if implemented would improve on existing International Marine Organisation (IMO) standards and guidelines. These make up the so-called Erika Package which covers immediate actions (Erika I) and long-term measures (Erika II).BirdLife expects the EU and member states to play a leading role at the global level in the next International Maritime Organisation meeting in 2003 just as they did on the issue of climate change, said Mr Naveso.Further information and photos for one-off media use available via:http://www.birdlife.net/news/Newsitem_display.cfm?NewRecID=732&NewType=N
For more information contact Miguel Naveso on +32 (0) 2280 08 30.

4th July 2014